Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Collapsing Left South Of The Border.

Fully engaged as we are in our own tumultuous political season, the growing chaos in Latin America is getting little attention in most American media outlets, particularly those on the ideological left. I have no doubt that they see it all just to embarrassing to their own undisguised political bias.

Although some outlets have recently brought themselves, however grudgingly, to finally declare that the "Bolivarian Socialism" of Venezuela has indeed failed, you won't find much in-depth analysis of the causes of the failure, namely that socialism itself breeds the corruption that destroys the nations where it takes root. Completely absent will be any perspectives that the emerging human tragedy in Venezuela, the political crisis in Brazil, the just announced indictment of the former Argentine President for corruption and the various other states of general lack of development, all grow from the root of the same poisonous tree, collectivist socialism.

Call it what you will, Bolivarian Socialism, Peronism, Jesuitical egalitarianism or just plain old naked communism. They all stagnate at best or utterly fail because of the belief in the corrupt notion that government must provide "positive rights" as opposed guaranteeing "negative rights".

Such a statement of course requires that we define those terms before we go any further: Never mind that I personally think that, as with most leftist arguments, they have deliberately reversed the terms to distort the readers perception of intent, we will go with their terms for the momment as it won't really effect the my deconstruction of their argument.

To understand "negative rights" one need not do much more than carefully read the Preamble to and the text of Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. It very clearly explains that the American founders understood that governments are a necessity of large societies, but that it is also a double edged sword that must be held in check lest the society they are intended to protect and foster slip back into the kind of tyranny the Revolution was fought to rid us of.

As to "positive rights", the concept was pretty much summed up in the last two elements of FDR's "Four Freedoms" speech, "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear".

While negative rights are limitations on the power and authority of government they are also positive affirmations of the supremacy of the individual over the collective just so long as the exercise of individual liberty does not impede others from exercise those same liberties for their own benefit.

Positive rights, on the other hand, while sounding all warm and fuzzy and oh so magnanimous are inherently destructive of the individual's rights to freedom from government interference in the exercise of liberty. The government cannot give to one individual or group of individuals with one hand what it has not taken by force from other individuals and groups of individuals with the other hand. This is of course a very simple concept and balance of logic, but it is the very thing that the collective leftists want considered in any political or economic analysis.

For the collectivist wealth is a finite quantity and government must intervene to provide some equiminious distribution of its limited amount. The individualist however realizes that wealth is produced by the action of the individual acting within the boundaries of a free exchange system. Those boundaries must include prohibitions of monopolies, trade restricting cartels as well as trade restricting government regulation and taxation structures that incentiveses moving those very wealth producing operations to foreign locations that in turn interfere with the individuals right to access to the job market and thus his economic and political freedom.

This is the basis of the Hamiltonian argument that the economic responsibility of government is to act in the national interest by fostering the means of internal production and transportation and the means of conducting trade internationally, not owning and controlling the means of production and distribution.

So now we can return to the subject of how, within these established contexts, "democratic socialism", to use a term currently popular with leftists, is failing in such a dramatic way.

It is because governments dare not to put limitations on human "freedom from want" or the social interference that comes from trying g to produce "freedom from fear."

Government of every tyrannical stripe and degree have tried again and again to produce these utopian fantasies. But what they actually become are communities of the equally poor, equally hungry and equally afraid. Except of course for the "Leader" and his or her minions who live in same mansions of the rich that they railed against before, directing the confiscation of the means of producing wealth, making their operations work at only a fraction of the efficiency of before because by eliminating competition they destroy efficiency and drastically reduce the profit needed to feed their dreams of egalitarianism. What they don't reduce is the amounts that they skim off from the top for their own personal benifits.

Then through bad decisions and inherent corruption the system breaks down to where either the people react to Constitutionally remove and punish the corrupt leaders, as we now seeing in Brazil and Argentina or the corrupt government uses the military and police as instruments of repression against popular anger and uprising over empty store shelves and empty stomachs. As is now happening in Venezuela.

Unfortunately throughout Latin America the traditions of government as provider of goods rather the protector of rights is old and well established. So what we get are the never ending cycles of rapid and violent swings between governments of utopian redistributionist fantacy and outright military repression.

Unfortunately for us north of the border the same fetid dreams of egalitarianism and economic redistribution by force have taken hold. Unless we soon return to more sane perspectives of individual rights and thr freedom to produce as the primary driving force of society and the economy that built our nation in the first place, we are in danger of slipping into the same pit of instability and indeed want and fear we see unfolding before us in Latin America and Europe.

Russia, China and Islam await the chaos  seeking to fill the voids to feed their own never long gone dreams of empire.

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